My first play since moving to New York City, and I have to tell you, the bar has been set very high. The Submission at MCC Theatre was entertaining, shocking, and thought provoking. I haven’t stopped marveling at it since the house lights came back up.
New Yorkers, you really need to hurry and see this show before it’s too late.
The Submission boasts a stellar class of young actors, including Jonathan Groff (from Broadway’s Spring Awakening and television’s “Glee”), Will Rogers (When the Rain Stops Falling), Eddie Kaye Thomas (the American Pie series), and Rutina Wesley (HBO’s “True Blood”.) The true break-out star of the show, though, is actor-turned-playwright Jeff Talbott, who wrote the script.
From the production company’s website:
Shaleeha G’ntamobi’s stirring new play about an alcoholic black mother and her card sharp son trying to get out of the projects has just been accepted into the nation’s preeminent theater festival. Trouble is, Shaleeha G’ntamobi doesn’t exist, except in the imagination of wannabe-playwright Danny Larsen, who created her as a kind of affirmative-action nom-de-plume. But a nom-de-guerre may prove more useful as the lies pile up, shaky alliances are forged, and everyone dear to Danny must decide whether or not to run for cover as the whole thing threatens to blow up in his lily white face.
As with any review, I don’t want to give too much away… So in keeping with what the producers already shared, I’ll just share that the character Danny writes a play from an authentically urban perspective about an African American family, though he fears it’ll never be taken seriously as a white playwright. He hires a struggling black actress to pretend to have written it.
What unfolds over the next hour and forty minutes is a series of deceit, compromises, confrontations, and self explorations. The dialogue in this show is phenomenal — characters confront their own preconceived notions, their views of society and prejudice, and the strength of their ties with one another. I’m struggling to think of a show that has so powerfully provoked me.
The Submission runs for another two weeks, every day except Monday, through Saturday September 22nd. If you’re in the New York area, you absolutely should go see this show. Tickets are available online.